Tag Archives: malaysian

Red Bull told Mark Webber to cut power "more than Sebastian Vettel"

Red Bull told Webber to cut power 'more than Vettel' in Malaysia

By
Malcolm Folley

PUBLISHED:

19:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

Red Bull have admitted that world
champion Sebastian Vettel was not told to cut his engine power to the
same level as Mark Webber at the end of last weekend's Malaysian Grand
Prix.

But the team insist they had not
favoured Vettel above his Australian team-mate or that they were happy
to see the German ignore orders and snatch victory from Webber.

In the aftermath of the furore over
Vettel's behaviour, it was claimed Webber, with the German running
behind him, had been told to turn down his engine setting to ensure he
did not experience a mechanical mishap.

Falling out: Mark Webber (left) and Sebastian Vettel on the podium in Malaysia

Falling out: Mark Webber (left) and Sebastian Vettel on the podium in Malaysia

It was presumed Vettel had received the same instruction on the orders of team principal Christian Horner.

But F1 rights holder Bernie Ecclestone told The Mail on Sunday last week: 'After speaking with Christian, it seems Mark was told to turn down the wick on his engine, but the team didn't tell Sebastian to do the same thing.'

And a Red Bull spokesperson admitted: 'Seb's engine was turned down, but not as much as Mark's due to differing strategies and tyre wear.'

Although Horner told Vettel to stay behind Webber, the German had more horsepower to overtake.

Different instructions: Bernie Ecclestone (inset) says Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were given different orders

Different instructions: Bernie Ecclestone (inset) says Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were given different orders

Webber maintained a low profile last week, with no desire to have any contact with Vettel before they meet for the next race in China in 10 days' time, while the German 25-year-old triple world champion was on a charm offensive at Red Bull's HQ in Milton Keynes in midweek to apologise to the workforce for creating worldwide uproar.

Webber's sense of betrayal, after helping to clinch the past three constructors' titles, means he is unlikely to stay with Red Bull when his contract ends this year.

His presence alongside Vettel in the first official media conference in Shanghai a week on Thursday will ensure Red Bull's internecine warfare is the only story in town.

Golden boy: Sebastian Vettel talks with Red Bull principal Christian Horner (right)

Golden boy: Sebastian Vettel talks with Red Bull principal Christian Horner (right)

'It can only be a distraction and energy-sapping,' said a team insider.

Yet, as Ecclestone revealed in this paper last week, Webber would have lost his seat to Lewis Hamilton this season had Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz not offered the Australian first refusal on keeping his drive out of loyalty when the 36-year-old had been talking with Ferrari.

'I wouldn't say that Mark was an out and out, 100 per cent Red Bull guy when he was looking to leave the team,' said Ecclestone. 'If he'd have got the drive with Ferrari, he'd have gone. He was lucky to stay, in my opinion.'

Indeed, Webber is not blameless. In the past, he has shown an unwillingness to toe the line, most recently in Brazil as Vettel clinched his third title.

'There's never been any trust between Webber and Vettel, they're not bosom buddies,' added Ecclestone.

Bernie Ecclestone says Sebastian Vettel was right to overtake Mark Webber in Malaysian Grand Prix

Vettel was right to pass team-mate Webber, says Ecclestone after Malaysia controversy

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

18:46 GMT, 27 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:40 GMT, 27 March 2013

Formula one chief Bernie Ecclestone has backed three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and said the German was right to ignore team orders and pass Mark Webber to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Webber led his Red Bull team-mate Vettel on Sunday before being told to turn his engine down, save his tyres and coast to victory in Sepang.

But world champion Vettel defied team orders and squeezed past Webber on the pit straight in the dying stages to win the race.

Tight: Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders and squeezed past Mark Webber to win in Malaysia

Tight: Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders and squeezed past Mark Webber to win in Malaysia

Authority: Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone

Authority: Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone

Vettel later admitted he was wrong to
pass Webber, but Ecclestone disagreed and claimed that the German did
not undermine team principal Christian Horner by ignoring the radio
messages.

He told Sky Sports News:
'If I was Sebastian Vettel, having won three world championships with
the team, and somebody came on the radio to me and started giving me
instructions I’d probably do exactly the same as Kimi Raikkonen did when
he came back when they gave him some instructions the other day and say
“I know what I’m doing”.

'I don’t think he’s (Vettel) undermined
Christian’s authority at all because Christian knows exactly what should
have happened and didn’t happen.

'Put yourself in Christian’s
position. What should he now do Did he give orders in the first place
and if he did how could he then give more orders

'I think what you have to do is think
very carefully and I always say “show me a good loser and I’ll show you
a loser”. Sebastian is not a loser. Sebastian is a winner.'

Stare: The tension between Webber and Vettel on the podium was clear for all to see

Stare: The tension between Webber and Vettel on the podium was clear for all to see

Ecclestone also laughed off any suggestions that Red Bull would suspend Vettel from racing in the next grand prix in China.

He said: 'Leave Sebastian out No I
don’t think I’d give that any consideration! I’d say to Sebastian,
“Sebastian – just don’t make me look an idiot”.'

The Formula One boss does, however,
believe Vettel and Webber can race as team-mates again after speculation
that the Aussie was considering his future with the team.

Ecclestone said: 'Yes, of course they will, obviously they will. I don’t know about (beyond 2013).'

Tension: Webber refused to celebrate with his team-mate on the podium

Tension: Webber refused to celebrate with his team-mate on the podium

New footage of Webber cutting up Vettel in dangerous move AFTER the race. Watson says ban Vettel

Fresh footage shows fuming Webber cutting up Red Bull team-mate Vettel in dangerous move after Malaysia mayhem

By
Phil Duncan

PUBLISHED:

13:23 GMT, 25 March 2013

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UPDATED:

15:34 GMT, 25 March 2013

Dramatic new footage has emerged revealing just how serious the feud is between Red Bull team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber after the Australian pulled a shockingly dangerous maneouvre after the Malaysian Grand Prix had finished.

Red Bull are in turmoil today after Vettel ignored their clear instruction not to challenge Webber at the climax of the race, and the German was forced to issue an apology for undermining the order which has left his colleague considering his Formula One future.

VIDEO: Scroll down to watch the astonishing footage

Chequered flag: Sebastian Vettel slows down after crossing the finishing line in Malaysia

Chequered flag: Sebastian Vettel slows down after crossing the finishing line in Malaysia

Who's that coming up Mark Webber's car zooms into the corner of the camera

Who's that coming up Mark Webber's car zooms into the corner of the camera

Dangerous: Webber steers into the path of Vettel at a furious pace as the German slows down

Dangerous: Webber steers into the path of Vettel at a furious pace as the German slows down

Best of enemies: Webber then speeds off into the distance leaving Red Bull red-faced

Best of enemies: Webber then speeds off into the distance leaving Red Bull red-faced

New footage reveals just how angry
Webber was in the aftermath of the race as he dangerously cuts across
Vettel at high speed to display his fury, only missing his team-mates
car by a matter of inches.

Former McLaren driver John Watson, a
winner of five grands prix, believes Red Bull must take immediate action
against their three-time world champion.

‘The question is, what are the team
going to do to sanction Sebastian Vettel And the only solution I would
find is suspending him for next grand prix,’ Watson told BBC Radio 4.

Dangerous: Mark Webber (left) swerved in front of Sebastien Vettel to show his anger

Dangerous: Mark Webber (left) swerved in front of Sebastien Vettel to show his anger

Punishment: Sebastian Vettel deserves a one-race ban, claims John Watson

Leading the way: Webber was ahead of Vettel until his team-mate's late surge

Leading the way: Webber was ahead of Vettel until his team-mate's late surge

VIDEO: Watch Webber's dangerous move

Out of options: Watson says a fine would do nothing and removing the points is not viable

Out of options: Watson says a fine would do nothing and removing the points is not viable

‘You can’t take the points away from
him and give them to Mark Webber, a fine would be irrelevant, so the
only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say “you will stand out
one race”.’

‘I know that if other drivers in other teams disobeyed a team order they would be suspended or even fired.’

Red Bull cancelled their victory photo
in the aftermath of yesterday’s controversy while it has been reported
that Webber needed to be persuaded to participate in the podium
ceremony.

Usurped: Mark Webber would have won the race had Vettel not disobeyed team orders

Usurped: Mark Webber would have won the race had Vettel not disobeyed team orders

Watson says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner must take action or risk his position being undermined by Vettel.

‘If Christian Horner doesn’t reassert his authority in the team – because he has been totally subjugated by Sebastian Vettel yesterday – then his position in the team is not exactly the role it is designed to be,’ added Watson.

‘The only conclusion I can reach is that Vettel should be suspended for the next grand prix.’

Lewis Hamilton pulls into McLaren pit lane in Malaysian Grand Prix after ditching team for Mercedes

Embarrassment for Hamilton as he pulls into McLAREN pit garage during Malaysian GP… months after ditching team for Mercedes

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

08:44 GMT, 24 March 2013

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UPDATED:

10:16 GMT, 24 March 2013

Lewis Hamiton has always insisted he made the right decision in leaving McLaren for Mercedes for the new Formula One season.

But the British star's mind seemed to be on his old team in Malaysia when he pulled into the WRONG pit garage.

The McLaren crew were in position for Jenson Button but were forced to let Hamilton through when he came in on lap seven.

Oops: Lewis Hamilton pulled into the McLaren pit lane during the Malaysian Grand Prix

Oops: Lewis Hamilton pulled into the McLaren pit lane during the Malaysian Grand Prix

Oops: Lewis Hamilton pulled into the McLaren pit lane during the Malaysian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton drives in to the wrong pits during the Malaysian Grand Prix

Thankfully for the 28-year-old he was
able to complete his pit stop in the right garage and resume his fight for the lead.

Hamilton's girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger reacted with shock to the unfortunate mistake as she watched a replay.

Afterwards Hamilton, who finished in third despite having to save fuel, said: 'I did a Jenson. He did that a couple of years ago.

'I am used to driving in the McLaren pits, I don't know how I got it wrong so I apologise to my team.'

More to follow…

Shock: Nicole Scherzinger reacts after boyfriend Hamilton pulled into the wrong garage

Shock: Nicole Scherzinger reacts after boyfriend Hamilton pulled into the wrong garage

Shock: Nicole Scherzinger reacts after boyfriend Hamilton pulled into the wrong garage

All's well that ends well: Hamilton finished third in the race, his first podium finish with Mercedes

All's well that ends well: Hamilton finished third in the race, his first podium finish with Mercedes

Feeling sheepish Hamilton made a huge call by ditching the team that had nurtured him from childhood

Feeling sheepish Hamilton made a huge call by ditching the team that had nurtured him from childhood

Big day ahead: The British star arrives in the paddock before the race with former Pussycat Doll Scherzinger

Big day ahead: The British star arrives in the paddock before the race with former Pussycat Doll Scherzinger

Tiger Woods insists golf is too honest for Lance Armstrong-style controversy

Scandalous! Tiger sticks the boot in as 14-time major champ insists golf is too honest for Armstrong-style controversy

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UPDATED:

15:07 GMT, 24 October 2012

Tiger Woods knows just how far there is to tumble when a top sportsman falls from grace – but the American is convinced golf will never be hit by a Lance Armstrong-style scandal.

Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life for his part in a doping conspiracy which rocked the sport.

Cycling's reputation has been left in tatters but Woods insists, due to the culture of honesty within his own sport, there is no need to worry about golf going the same way.

Safe: Tiger Woods insists golf will never suffer a Lance Armstrong-style scandal

Safe: Tiger Woods insists golf will never suffer a Lance Armstrong-style scandal

'We just implemented testing probably three years ago I think it is,' said Woods. 'I know we don't do any blood work like some of the other sports do.

'Right now it's just urine samples, but that's certainly a positive step in the right direction to try and validate our sport.'

He added: 'This is a sport where we turn ourselves in on mistakes. A ball moves in the trees, guys call penalties on themselves. Golf is a different sport.

'I think that's one of the neat things about our great game, and I think with the testing, it's only enhanced that respectability throughout all of sport.'

Woods, a 14-time major winner, also made
headlines for all the wrong reasons but it was over his behaviour away
from the course when it was revealed in 2009 that he had a string of
affairs.

His wife Erin filed for divorce and Tiger lost several of his sponsors before undertaking a therapy programme.

High circles: Tiger played with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during the pro-am ahead of this week's CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur

High circles: Tiger played with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during the pro-am ahead of this week's CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur

Nike stayed with Woods despite the sex scandal but the American sports giant dropped Armstrong on the back of the drug revelations.

Rory McIlroy looks set to replace Woods as the main man with the company amid rumours of a 156million 10-year deal for the young Northern Irishman.

Woods never managed to get his hands on one of this year's majors and failed to win a match at the Ryder Cup but, with three PGA Tour wins to his name, he insists he is happy with 2012.

Speaking ahead of the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, he added: 'It's a really good year, no doubt, but winning a major championship just makes it a great year.

'The majors are such a different animal and different breed and we place so much emphasis on them.'

Disgraced: Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France wins

Disgraced: Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France wins

Happy with the progress he has made on the course and optimistic about what the future holds, it is off the course that still matters to him the most.

He trails the great Jack Nicklaus by four majors and, on 74 PGA Tour wins, is eight short of Sam Snead.

'Golf has always been a high priority in my life but family has been No 1, so that hasn't changed,' he said.

'I certainly want to break Jack's record and catch Snead's record, but being the best father I can possibly be to my two great kids, that is certainly number one in my life.'

Chinese Grand Prix: Jenson Button drives into the mind of Sebastian Vettel

McLaren star Button drives into the mind of Vettel ahead of Chinese Grand Prix

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 13 April 2012

Jenson Button sees Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix as an ideal opportunity to add to Sebastian Vettel's difficult start to the defence of his crown.

Both Button and double world champion Vettel were involved in crashes with backmarker Narain Karthikeyan in Malaysia.

Burning issue: Button's focus is on racing despite the intricacies surrounding the next race in Bahrain

Burning issue: Button's focus is on racing despite the intricacies surrounding the next race in Bahrain

Red Bull's Vettel and HRT journeyman Karthikeyan spent the ensuing days exchanging insults while Button, who finished a lowly 14th, opted to take it on the chin and accept full responsibility for his crash.

Now Button is intent on further testing his rival's mental fortitude, but the 32-year-old conceded he will be far more satisfied if he can force a further reaction from Vettel by outperforming him rather than more crashes.

Asked whether he is eager to make Vettel lose his cool once again, Button replied: 'Yeah, definitely. But I don't think we need people getting in the way or him having collisions to do that. I think we can make that happen ourselves on the circuit.'

War of words: Vettel (pictured) and Karthikeyan exchanged insults after the Malaysian Grand Prix

War of words: Vettel (pictured) and Karthikeyan exchanged insults after the Malaysian Grand Prix

In response to Vettel's claim that McLaren have been the team to beat so far, Button added: 'He is obviously looking at qualifying. It is something he has been very good at but he hasn't been on the front row yet. That is a big kick for him.'

Despite romping to victory in the season's opening Australian Grand Prix, Button was keen to offer a reality check to those who have described McLaren as the class act of the 2012 field.

'We have been able to prove it only once in the first two races,' said the 2009 world champion.

Family matters: Lewis Hamilton in the paddock on Friday with his father Anthony

Family matters: Lewis Hamilton in the paddock on Friday with his father Anthony

'We have out-qualified everyone else but if you look at the race, our car hasn't been quickest yet. I might have won in Australia but if you look at the facts, Mark Webber was quicker than me. There is not going to be a walkaway winner in any race this season.'

Lewis Hamilton, who scored a magnificent win at Vettel's expense in Shanghai last year, feels he should have been on the top step of the podium twice already while his chances of making it third time lucky have already been hampered by a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.

Pit stop issues have been a bugbear for Hamilton and he revealed there has been an inquest at McLaren in an effort to tighten up his tyre changes.

'We sat down and I saw all the pit stops and it was really not good,' said Hamilton, who was delighted to have his father and former manager Anthony by his side in the McLaren garage yesterday.

'It was good to understand what happened. We have worked hard to improve, so hopefully this weekend they will be much stronger.'

Meanwhile, events in Bahrain continue to shift the focus away from the action in China.

Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone met the team principals on Friday, claiming afterwards: 'Everybody's happy, we haven't got any problems.'

However, the declaration by the FIA that the race is to go ahead next weekend, news which was understandably warmly greeted by the Bahrain International Circuit, was slammed by groups opposed to the ruling Al Khalifa royal family.

Ebrahim Mattar, of the opposition Al Wefaq party, insisted: 'This acceptance represents an ignoring of human rights violations, which are still on-going in Bahrain.'

Warning: The image of Bernie Ecclestone is torched in this Facebook image

Warning: The image of Bernie Ecclestone is torched in this Facebook image

A Facebook page entitled Pearl Family Circle – Martyrs' Square carried images of flags bearing Ecclestone's image being burned.

But, after recently questioning the decision to return to Bahrain, 1996 world champion Damon Hill said he is convinced it is right for the race to go ahead.

'I hope that F1 can be seen as a symbol of all that is possible if we can work together peacefully,' said Hill.

Felipe Massa wants to forget slow start to season

Time to turn the page and start again, says Massa after another slow start

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UPDATED:

10:09 GMT, 30 March 2012

Felipe Massa is ready to move on from his nightmare start to 2012 after spending time at the Ferrari factory in Maranello analysing his poor performances at the first two races of the season.

While team-mate Fernando Alonso is leading the drivers' championship after his victory at last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, Massa has yet to register a point.

The Brazilian retired in Australia after a clash with compatriot Bruno Senna and could only finish 15th, almost a lap down on Alonso, at Sepang.

Second fiddle: Massa (right) watches on as Alonso celebrates his win in Malaysia

Second fiddle: Massa (right) watches on as Alonso celebrates his win in Malaysia

The 30-year-old chose to cancel a planned return home after the race in Malaysia in order to try and figure out where things have gone wrong.

And despite criticism in sections of the media, the former Sauber driver has received the public backing of Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.

Massa told the Ferrari website: 'I met my engineer Rob Smedley and I spent a lot of time with [technical director] Pat Fry, going over everything that happened, because this is the only way I think we can understand the reasons behind these two bad weekends.

'I am disappointed, there is no denying it – not scoring any points in two races hurts – but now it's time to turn the page.

'It's the not the first time I've gone through a difficult moment like this and I know well that things can change quickly, but now is the moment to do my utmost because I want this negative period to come to an end.

Off the pace: Massa has failed to challenge for the championship since 2008

Off the pace: Massa has failed to challenge for the championship since 2008

'I want things to return to normal, to a situation in which I can show my talent as I have always done and as the team knows I can do.'

Massa is also keen to pay back the support shown for him by Domenicali and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

'I was very happy to read and hear what was said by President Montezemolo, our boss Stefano Domenicali and my team-mate Fernando,' he said.

'Their words did not come as a surprise, because I know I can count on the support of what is a real second family for me, which is what Ferrari has been to me for all these years. I feel there is confidence around me, that the team is united in its support for me and that is very important.

'Now I want to transform that into results to pay back all this support.'

Felipe Massa heads to Ferrari HQ in bid to save career

Massa abandons homecoming and heads to Ferrari HQ in bid to save career

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UPDATED:

10:01 GMT, 28 March 2012

Felipe Massa has abandoned plans to return home to his family in a bid to improve results and potentially save his Ferrari career.

Instead of returning home to Brazil as initially planned, Massa headed to Ferrari's base in Maranello to assess where it has all gone wrong for him in the first two races of the season.

In contrast to championship-leading team-mate Fernando Alonso, who took the chequered flag in Malaysia on Sunday, Massa has so far failed to score at the opening two grands prix.

Hard work ahead: Felipe Massa is desperate to reverse his poor form

Hard work ahead: Felipe Massa is desperate to reverse his poor form

That has sparked speculation the Brazilian, in the final year of his contract, could be replaced sooner rather than later.

But Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has offered some hope to his driver by comparing his current plight with his start to the 2008 season, when Massa ultimately came within seconds of being crowned world champion.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

'I well remember four years ago, in fact right after a Malaysian Grand Prix won for us by Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe was more or less in the same situation as today,' said Domenicali.

'The papers were demanding his immediate replacement, but he managed to react in the best way possible, thanks to support from the team, which saw him win two of the next three races.

'We remember how that particular season ended, with the Brazilian actually world champion, even if just for a few seconds, while we took our 16th constructors' title.'

Slipping away: Massa struggled in Sepang at the weekend

Slipping away: Massa struggled in Sepang at the weekend

The difference now to then is that Massa could only qualify 12th in Malaysia, compared to pole four years ago, due to the overall uncompetitiveness of the current car.

Confirming Massa's mission in Maranello, Domenicali told his team's official website: 'Felipe has changed his plans.

'Instead of heading home to see his family in Brazil, he will be in Maranello to work alongside the engineers to calmly analyse everything that happened in these past two races, trying to identify why he was not able to deliver what he is capable of.

'That's the right spirit and we are here, ready to help him.'

Malaysian Grand Prix 2012: No Sergio Perez conspiracy

No conspiracy over Perez, blasts Sauber after Mexican settles for second in Malaysia

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UPDATED:

16:33 GMT, 25 March 2012

Sauber team boss Peter Sauber has categorically refuted claims a conspiracy was at the heart of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Swiss team missed out on a historic win by just 2.263secs as rising Mexican star Sergio Perez pushed Ferrari's Fernando Alonso all the way to the line at the Sepang International Circuit.

At one stage on lap 40 Perez had closed to within 1.3secs, only for the team to not follow Ferrari's lead and bring him when the conditions demanded a change from intermediate to dry tyres.

Champagne moment: Sergio Perez celebrates finishing second in Malaysia

Champagne moment: Sergio Perez celebrates finishing second in Malaysia

Then on lap 50 Perez made an error of his own when he ran wide at turn 14 when he was poised to pass Alonso after again cutting the gap to 0.5secs.

The theory was, as Sauber are powered by Ferrari engines and Perez remains a product of the Maranello marque's young driver academy, that the 22-year-old was called to file in behind Alonso.

Fuel has been added to the fire by the fact Perez's engineer was heard over the team radio telling him 'we need the position'.

Asked about the message, Sauber said: 'He meant that we needed the result. It's a misunderstanding.

'It was because that behind us, all the midfield teams, our main competitors, scored points.

'So it was important we kept the result and not the position.'

Team effort: Perez celebrates with Sauber after the Malaysian Grand Prix

Team effort: Perez celebrates with Sauber after the Malaysian Grand Prix

Pressed on whether Perez had been told to stay behind Alonso, Sauber said: 'No. We told him “be careful we need the result”.'

Sauber was then quizzed on whether there had been any discussion with Ferrari, but he said: 'No. 100 per cent no. 100 per cent nothing.

'We had no discussion about Checo (Perez) nor the position.'

It took the gloss off what was a stunning drive from Perez as he achieved his finest result in F1 and Sauber's highest position since the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix when Nick Heidfeld was runner-up, and at a time when the team were heavily backed by BMW.

Perez proved himself in very tough conditions as the race was suspended for 51 minutes after nine laps due to heavy rain.

In high humidity the track did not start to dry out until near the end, yet Perez managed to reel in Alonso on inters and dry tyres, only to fall short.

Race is on: Perez tracked Fernando Alonso but was unable to overtake

Race is on: Perez tracked Fernando Alonso but was unable to overtake

Extolling Perez's virtues, Sauber said: 'He drove an outstanding race and rose above our expectations.

'What surprised me most was the fact he was very competitive in all conditions and with all tyres.

'Whether they were wet, intermediate or dry tyres he was always one of the fastest drivers on track, if not the fastest.'

Perez knows it was an opportunity missed as he said: 'I think I could have won it, definitely.

'I was catching Fernando toward the end of the race, but I ran wide enough to go on to the wet and I just lost control of the car, went straight and lost the fight for the victory.

'In the end second is a great result for the team. Many points.'

Perez has now scored more points than he managed in his rookie year last season, and the team have 30 overall, just 14 behind their total achievement in 2011.

Relief: Alonso celebrates with his Ferrari team after a welcome win

Relief: Alonso celebrates with his Ferrari team after a welcome win

For Ferrari, the result will lift them out of the doldrums, yet Alonso maintains the win 'changes nothing' given the relative uncompetitiveness of their car.

'The win is a big surprise because we were not competitive in Australia, nor here,' said the Spaniard.

'We are in a position we don't want, fighting to get into Q3 and then fighting to score some points.

'We want to fight for poles, victories, because after the first two races of the championship we find ourselves off the pace.'

Lewis Hamilton had to again settle for third from pole and trails Alonso in the championship by five points.

On this occasion, after being far from happy with third a week ago in his McLaren, the tune had changed as he said: 'We can be satisfied.

Podium place: Lewis Hamilton had to settle for third place in Malaysia

Podium place: Lewis Hamilton had to settle for third place in Malaysia

'We would have liked more points, but I guess I can't complain. I'm on the podium for second week in a row so I'm pretty happy.'

Winner Down Under a week ago, team-mate Jenson Button finished 14th after a collision with HRT's Narain Karthikeyan forced a front-wing change shortly after the restart.

Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel also missed out on points as he was 11th after his own clash with Karthikeyan late on that led to a left-rear puncture.

Other notable achievements saw Bruno Senna finish a career-high sixth, giving Williams eight points, three more than they scored in the whole of last season, whilst Force India's Paul di Resta was seventh.

Jenson Button says sorry to McLaren after Malaysia gaffe

Button: Sorry, it was all my fault for crashing in Malaysian rain

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UPDATED:

22:21 GMT, 25 March 2012

Jenson Button said sorry after McLaren’s chances were flushed away in a rain-interrupted Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Briton finished in 14th and almost 80 seconds behind winner Fernando Alonso after colliding with the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan, losing the right end of his front wing.

Contrasting fortunes: Jenson Button leaves Malaysia third in the title race

Contrasting fortunes: Jenson Button leaves Malaysia third in the title race

Tough day at the office: Button could only manage 14th in the changeable conditions

Tough day at the office: Button could only manage 14th in the changeable conditions

‘It was totally my fault,’ said Button. ‘I blew what could have been some good points and I have to say sorry to the team.’

A storm held up the race for 51 minutes before Button’s McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton was forced to settle for third place, despite starting in pole position, after two poor pit-stops.